The curtains have drawn on Brighton Fringe 2019, which has proved to be the biggest and best yet. Overall ticket sales increased by 10% from last year and attendances reached 604,000, a 5% increase on 2018.
This year there were 1,034 events (compared to 1,010 in 2018) and 4,715 performances (compared to 4,601 in 2018) in 164 venues. The economic impact of this year’s Fringe stands at over £20.5 million, including public, venue and participant spend.
Elsewhere, Brighton Fringe has grown in other ways. The Freedom Season, the festival’s programme of accessible events and performances expanded from 16 events in 2018 to 150 in 2019. This commitment to inclusivity also meant that there were over 200 free events at Brighton, including Fringe City, the free outdoor street festival that takes place on New Road every weekend of the Fringe.
The festival played host to 133 international events from 33 countries, including 43 international collaborations. There were also high profile international seasons of work from the Nordic region and the Netherlands, as well as ‘Sullied’, the winner of the Gold Award from the National Arts Festival of South Africa. One third of the programme remains from the local area however, making Brighton Fringe the largest platform for Sussex-based work.
Julian Caddy, Brighton Fringe CEO, said “The continued success of Brighton Fringe is down to the extraordinary hard work of thousands of people, front and back of stage, box office, front of house, reviewers, photographers, volunteers and many more. Although the festival is big, it should not be forgotten that it is also an extremely fragile construct, largely unfunded, mostly very small scale and often on a financial knife edge. So it is extremely comforting to see the way that it has been embraced by an ever-growing audience. That Brighton Fringe grows is brilliant, and it has more than doubled its audiences in 5 years, but it is the sustainability that matters the most, so we will continue to work to support the independent arts sector in order to maintain and develop the future of artists for generations to come.”
The Brighton Fringe Awards closed proceedings in the best way, celebrating the outstanding performances and events that make the festival what it is. The host of awards demonstrated the variety of art forms on offer at Brighton Fringe, which included cabaret & circus, children’s events, comedy, dance & physical theatre, film, literature & spoken word, music, theatre, visual arts, and much more. All companies who won an award also win a free registration to take part in Brighton Fringe the following year.
The complete list of winners is below. A full list of shortlisted companies and events can be found here.
Thank you to all of the award sponsors, judges, and Audience Choice voters.
- The South East Dance Brighton Fringe Award: Sullied by Kristi-Leigh Gresse
- New Writing South Best New Play Award: Clean by Sam Chittenden
- The Brighton Fringe International Touring Bursary in Association with The Pebble Trust: All I See Is You by Queer Street Productions
- The FringeReview UK Outstanding Theatre Award: Quintessence by Emily Carding / Sweet Productions
- ONCA Green Curtain Award: How Disabled Are You? by The Queer Historian
- Voice's Best Newcomer Award: Unmythable by Out of Chaos
- The Brighton Fringe Visual Arts Award in Association with Artists Open Houses: Cultureground B.fest by B.Fest / Brighton Youth Centre (BYC)
- The Gemini Print & Brighton Fringe Design for Print Award: Cards Against Humanity, The Shame Show by Junkyard Dogs
- The Balkan / Otherplace Award: Bright Buoy Productions
- The Brighton Gin Cabaret & Circus Award: David Hoyle: Tuesday Night is David Night by Tim Whitehead Management
- Latest Brighton Comedy Award: Fannytasticals Cum Again by Fannytasticals / Sweet Productions
- Latest Brighton Live Music Award: Herbie's Jazz Breakfast by Herbie Flowers with Beach Without Sand
- The International Youth Arts Festival Best of Brighton Fringe Comedy Award: Alex Cofield: Supernova by Alexander Cofield
- The International Youth Arts Festival Best of Brighton Fringe Theatre Award: Euan by ChewBoy Productions
- The International Youth Arts Festival Best of Brighton Fringe Children and Family Award: Gut Buddies By Gut Buddies Theatre
- Audience Choice Award for Best Venue: Nether Regions: Venue 66
- Audience Choice Award for Best Event: In Loving Memory of Pat Riarchy by Clap Back Club
- Spirit of the Fringe Award: Hannah McInnes